I.R.I. GOLF GROUP ARIZONA NATIONAL JUNIOR
July 7-10, 2003
SCHECHTER AND BUELL SHARE
LEAD AT ARIZONA NATIONAL
Smith tops Girls Division
TUCSON, Ariz. - Max Schechter of Rancho
Santa Fe, Calif., and Danny Buell of San Carlos, Calif., sit
atop the leaderboard of the Boys Division following first-round
scores of 5-under-par 66 at the I.R.I. Golf Group Arizona
National. Nicole Smith of Riverside, Calif., leads the Girls
Division with a 3-under-par 68.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the 54-hole
event is being held at the par-71 Arizona National. The field
features 84 players, ages 13-18, from seven states and Mexico,
and includes 10 Tucson residents.
16-year-old Schechter carded an eagle and five birdies, compared
to only two bogeys, good for a 66 in his first AJGA event.
"I played steadily on my front nine and then went birdie,
eagle, birdie on my back to really get me going," commented
"After that I realized that I might be leading an AJGA
event and that was really cool, yet a little scary."
Buell, a Fresno State signee, shares the lead with Schechter
following a tournament personal best 66. Buell's round included
an eagle, six birdies, 30 putts and 16 greens in regulation.
"I was striking my irons really well," remarked
Buell. "I felt like if I had an iron in my hand I had
a chance at birdie."
In his sixth AJGA event, Buell is looking for his best finish.
"It feels good, but you can't win a tournament in one
day," Buell said. "I really hope I can build on
Cameron Tringale of Laguna Niguel, Calif., trails Schechter
and Buell in third place after a 3-under-par 68.
Tringale is followed in fourth by eight juniors with rounds
of 2-under-par. Kyle Dowden of Somis, Calif., Jonathan Taruc
of Las Vegas, Daniel Lim of Gilroy, Calif., Kevin Chappell
of Fresno, Calif., Heejoo Son of Carson, Calif., John Wisner
of Tucson, Donnie Nielson of El Dorado Hills, Calif., and
Dan Saltz of Scottsdale, Ariz., all carded 69s.
In the Girls Division, Nicole Smith tops the leaderboard with
a 3-under-par 68. The 16-year-old's round included six birdies
with only three bogeys.
"I just tried to stay calm all day and hit the fairways,"
commented Smith. "It worked well trying to play it safe
today because I didn't get in much trouble in the desert."
Smith is looking to improve on a career-best fourth place
finish at Morgan Run in 2002.
"I'll probably play a little more aggressive Wednesday
and Thursday, but still play safely," remarked Smith.
"I'm definitely looking forward to the next two rounds."
Smith is followed closely by 13-year-old Esther Choe of La
Quinta, Calif. Choe carded a 2-under-par 69 with three birdies
and only one bogey.
"I played consistently and hit almost all of the greens,
but some of my putts just weren't falling," Choe said.
"Hopefully Wednesday I will play like today; shot by
shot, consistent golf."
Sommer Scholl of Riverside, Calif., and Ki-Shui Liao of Alameda,
Calif. are tied in third place following matching rounds of
Second-round action begins at 7 a.m. PDT Wednesday off Nos.
1 and 10 at Arizona National. For more information about the
AJGA I.R.I Golf Group Arizona National, please call tournament
headquarters at (520) 749-3636 (ext. 23).
# AJGA #